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D.C. Reveals More Development RFPs, Skyland Retail Leases And A WeWork Partnership

Mayor Muriel Bowser speaking at DMPED's March Madness event Wednesday.

Mayor Muriel Bowser's administration is moving forward with a host of new initiatives to build more housing, bring new food options to underserved neighborhoods and help people return to work.

D.C. officials revealed several new efforts on these fronts Wednesday at the District's annual March Madness event, where it also unveiled plans to relocate another D.C. agency to a new East-of-the-River project, which it is seeking developers to build. 

“Our goal each year with March Madness is to bring development to the areas in our city that need it most, and to think creatively on how to continue the development of our communities for D.C. residents,” Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio said in a release. 

DMPED, which hosted the event, previewed three additional requests for proposals for development sites in Wards 5, 6 and 8. 

In Anacostia, DMPED plans to release an RFP for a 2.6-acre site at 1234 Good Hope Road. The property is near the road's intersection with Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, the same intersection where Menkiti Group is building its MLK Gateway mixed-use development — another project first marketed in a March Madness event.

The site's zoning is split into three separate designations, the most dense of them being MU-7, and it could accommodate residential, office and ground-floor retail.

In Northeast D.C., DMPED plans to release an RFP for a fire station property at 501 Rhode Island Ave. NE. The site, at just less than an acre, could accommodate a mixed-use development that would keep the operating fire station on the site.

The site is one block from the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station, across the street from MRP Realty's huge Bryant Street project and next to a site where Jair Lynch and Wilkes Co. have a development planned

The Southern Baptist Church property at the intersection of L Street and New Jersey Avenue NW.

DMPED also plans to release an RFP in partnership with the Southern Baptist Church for a redevelopment on its site at 132 L St. NW. The 30K SF site is within two blocks of the Northwest One and Sursum Corda developments. 

The RFP would require the deal to be structured as a ground lease that ensures the church can remain and benefit from the project. It is the latest in a series of examples of D.C. churches seeking developers to add housing to their sites to help improve their financial standing.

"It is important for the District to provide opportunities and solutions for faith organizations, particularly historically African American churches, to stay in the District," DMPED Director of Real Estate Sarosh Olpadwala said at the event. 

Bowser also announced five new retail leases at the Skyland Town Center development. 

The new tenants at Skyland are chicken restaurant Roaming Rooster, local pizza chain &Pizza, South American street food eatery Maizal, Mediterranean eatery Mezeh and Tropical Smoothie Café. 

Skyland Town Center, a Ward 7 mixed-use project from WC Smith and Rappaport, landed German grocer Lidl as an anchor tenant in 2019. It has also signed Starbucks, Chase Bank, CVS Pharmacy, Like That Barbershop and Skyland Nails and Spa.  

The development is now leasing for its first apartment building, The Crest, a 263-unit project that includes 53 affordable and 26 workforce units. 

“I know it’s taking time, but what we’re seeing at Skyland is a development that matches the vision of the Ward 7 community — a site with new housing, a grocery store, good amenities, and jobs and opportunity for DC residents,” Bowser said in a release. 

A rendering of the Skyland Town Center development in D.C.'s Ward 7.

The Department of Housing and Community Development announced eight new opportunities at March Madness, including four vacant rowhouse properties and two multifamily properties that would be preserved as affordable housing, plus two development sites.

The largest DHCD opportunity was a vacant, 32K SF lot in Deanwood at the intersection of 58th and Dix streets NE. The site is zoned MU-4, allowing mixed-use buildings up to 50 feet tall, and DCHD is looking for affordable housing proposals. 

The agency also plans to offer a 13K SF vacant lot in Congress Heights at 1444-1454 Alabama Ave. SE. The site is zoned for residential use. 

The multifamily buildings DCHD is offering are at 4324, 4326 and 4338 Halley Terrace SE in Bellevue and 4244 Sixth St. SE in Congress Heights. The rowhouse properties are at 905 R St. NW, 1106 Third St. NE, 1325 Montello Ave. NE and 202 36th St. SE. 

The D.C. Housing Finance Agency provided an update on the RFP for the redevelopment of its 815 Florida Ave. NW headquarters in Shaw, a major development opportunity it released last year. It said it has narrowed the search down to four finalists and plans to make a selection by May. The four finalists were:

The D.C. Housing Authority announced it plans to issue two solicitations for Capitol Riverfront properties as part of its redevelopment of the Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg housing community. The sites, Square 738 and 768, each span at least an acre and are adjacent to Canal Park. 

D.C.'s Office of the Chief Financial Officer released an office leasing requirement for its headquarters. The agency is searching for a space between 325K SF and 375K SF with a 10- to- 15-year lease. It said it would consider existing or planned office buildings, it prefers to be the sole occupant of the building, and it requires at least 5K SF of ground-floor space. 

Bowser also used the March Madness event to announce a new partnership between D.C. and WeWork

The partnership provides discounted rates at WeWork coworking spaces for local businesses and individuals that are relocating to D.C. or expanding within the District.

The discounts include a one-month free trial and 15% off for the WeWork All Access membership, giving access to all of the company's locations. Users renting private office space would receive two free months for a six-month commitment and three free months for a 12-month commitment. 

The mayor said the partnership is an effort to help D.C. companies return to offices in a safe way and help the city's business districts recover from the coronavirus pandemic. 

“Throughout this pandemic, our businesses and workers have shown a tremendous amount of resilience and creativity in finding ways to pivot their services and operations," she said. "Now, in WeWork, we have another partner in those efforts and another way to think about safely returning to work.”

The partnership comes after WeWork closed seven D.C.-area locations between October and February, part of a larger reversal for the coworking sector that had grown rapidly in previous years. WeWork still has nine coworking spaces in the District, plus three in Northern Virginia. 

“WeWork is committed to supporting the District and, through this partnership, we look forward to helping support organizations’ return to work," WeWork Vice President Errol Williams said in a release.